Brilliant games, and could be considered as underdog challengers to the GTA franchise.
However, Saints Row 3 has been dumbed down & padded out with "junk" missions to boost mission count.
First off, the bugs.. oh my god, the bugs!
Graphic glitches, falling through the world, really bad path finding issues, moronic homies, randomly falling out of cars, a huge amount of pop-in, and alot of crashes, and really bad online syncing just to name a small fraction of the issues we've had... easily put the game into our "most buggy games" - but fortunately, none of them are game breaking.
Anyway onto the game...
The story itself would take no more than 1:30hours for the average gamer to play if they weren't forced to watch missions consisting of "Drive here, watch this random cut scene." or even worse, listening to a phone call ... or even worse than that, side-missions becoming an actual mission in order to extend the experience.
We played co-op up til roughly 60% completion until we felt as if we had left the tutorial phase of the game to shocking find 10% later the story was complete.
This could be partially down to the fact in previous Saints Row games, you needed a certain "Respect" level in order to unlock story missions to progress... Saints Row 3 just lets you go from one to the other seamlessly, and on top of that they've moved away from the standard "Go see John" style markers to begin missions to a just press the back button & goto Missions to begin the next one... maybe this is one of the reasons the game feel ridiculously short - but i'm pretty sure its a mixture of this + cheap padding tactics + a short story.
and now we move onto the Activities, where some believe the game begins (I don't see how, but everyone has an opinion.)...
Activities have been dumbed down alot, in Saints Row 2 there would be multiple Activity icons on the map, each icon usually consists of 7 levels of progressive difficulty's - unfortunately Saints Row 3 just has a few icons dotted around for each activity and are all easily completed within a couple of hours.
Another annoying feature, alot of people are "cheating" in this game for infinite ammo / immortality etc, which quite possibly removes the only feature this game has that's any good... an upgrade system for your character, purchase more muscle to throw enemys, bigger ammo clips, more health, more homies to deliver vehicles etc - and eventually get you to the stage where your immortal, with infinite ammo & a few other nice perks.
Another thing which has been dumbed down alot, and has personally annoyed me is Cribs - theres alot of nice crib locations in the game, some are quite large but all of them just require you to walk in the front door and your greeted with a "Press Y" popup which allows you to select cars, clothes, helicopters, and other features... where as in previous Saints Row games, you had to go into the bedroom / wardrobe to find clothes, go out to the garage for a car, walk into the weapons locker for weapons etc.... so I feel alot has been taken away from the "virtual" experience here.
Anyway, bottom line is we've completed Saints Row 3 on Co-op, it was very buggy and it was abit of a let down after the massive fun we had in Saints Row 1 & 2... and that's that... I very much doubt we'll bother playing it again, and we will be thinking twice before purchasing Saints Row 4.